Handy advice for dodging and disarming the sonic weapons used by militarized police

Following up on their advice on how to safely topple a statue using sciencePopular Mechanics has another great new article on dealing with LRAD (long-range acoustic device) cannons. A popular choice among riot cops and other militarized police units, LRAD units are capable of violently brutalizing protestors with the excessive force of sound waves — which is better than bullets, I guess, but can still be pretty god damn painful. Audio producer Cory Choy described the experience for Popular Mechanics:

Horrible, nauseating pain hit my body. And then I realized it was sound. At first you just think, ‘What’s happening to me?’ Your body goes into complete pain and panic mode. It’s the sound equivalent of looking into the sun.

Writer Lynn Peskoe-Yang uses this experience as a jumping-off point for a history of LRADs, tracing their use through the Standing Rock protests as well as the 2017 Women's March, before finally offering some advice on how to handle the onslaught of a sonic boom:

The principle behind using an LRAD as crowd control, rather than for long-distance communication, is similar to the idea behind a whistle or a siren: they all emit tones in the most sensitive range of frequencies for most humans. At a distance, an LRAD deterrent tone may sound like any other alarm.

But while whistles emit sound waves in all directions, LRADs concentrate the waves in a narrow cone of sound, extending about 15 degrees in every direction from the axis, like a flashlight.

Read the rest

In Portlandia, police confiscated chickpeas and White Claw

On Friday night, New York Police Commissioner Shea tweeted a photo of a bunch of bicycle repair gear and other commonly handy devices that had been confiscated from protestors, which he referred to as "the tools of criminals bent on causing mayhem & hijacking." At the time, I joked that it was some kind of sequel to the "Bicycle Rights" sketch from Portlandia. I carry every single thing in those photos (except the hammers) in my bicycle messenger at all times, and I've never even had a problem getting a plane with it all. The idea that these somehow constituted deadly weapons of war — in a country with a Constitutional right to bear arms, no less! — is utterly absurd.

But apparently, I made my Portlandia joke too soon. Because the very next day, the known white-supremacist collaborators in the Portland Police Department tweeted a similar photo of the supposedly-awful things with which their officers had been allegedly assaulted: hard seltzer, chickpeas, and a half-eaten apple.

Police officers in America can be armed to the teeth with riot armor and helmets, carrying chemical weapons and ordnance cannons in their massive Bearcat tanks … and every single one of them is paralyzed by fear at the thought of a plastic water bottle. Why is that?

I guess it's true what they say: ain't no laws when you're throwing Claws. Read the rest

Hoaxer with a history of fake bomb threats SWATs and murders a random bystander over a $1.50 Call of Duty bet

Swatting is the practice of tricking police SWAT teams into storming your victim's home by phoning in fake hostage situations; it's especially prominent among cybercriminals, gamers and was a favored tactic of Gamergater trolls. Read the rest

Cops chase innocent shoplifting suspect into stranger's house, then storm it with 50-person SWAT team and blow up every room except one

Leo Lech is suing the police in Greenwood, Colorado for storming his house with a 50-person SWAT team because they mistakenly believed that a man who ran into his house (whom Lech didn't know) had shoplifted a shirt and two belts from Walmart; the police engaged in a 19-hour standoff that led to the near-total destruction of Lech's house due to the use of "calculated destruction," a tactic through which explosives are detonated through the house, room by room, to isolate the suspect. Read the rest

"Less lethal" is a deceptive term to describe the weapons that routinely kill and maim peaceful protesters

This short interview with Homer Venters from Physicians for Human Rights, recorded in May at the the Right to Protest conference in Buenas Aires, is a succinct and important summary of the lie of "less-lethal" crowd-control weapons that kill and maim protesters, from tear-gas burns on lung-tissue to lethal, point-blank rubber bullet usage. Read the rest

After Madrid seized Catalonia's ballot boxes, they unveiled their secret backup stash of ballot boxes

The austerity-crazed central government of Spain in Madrid is determined to prevent the citizens of Catalonia from voting on independence on October 1: they sent thousands of militarized national guards into the region (transporting them via a commandeered cruise ship) to seize ballot boxes and ballot papers, arrest members of the Catalonian government, and they've attempted to seize control over the Catalonian internet to prevent planning and discussion of Catalan independence, citing a Spanish court ruling that banned the referendum. Read the rest

West coast jurisdictions advance community oversight of police surveillance

This summer, two of the west coast’s largest metropolitan areas—Seattle and California—took major steps to curtail secret, unilateral surveillance by local police. These victories for transparency and community control lend momentum toward sweeping reforms pending across California, as well as congressional efforts to curtail unchecked surveillance by federal authorities. Read the rest

147-mph biker chase demonstrates latest aerial surveillance tech

On Independence Day, one American decided to exercise his freedom to ride his motorcycle at speeds up to 147 miles per hour. That and several other freedoms were quickly taken away thanks a police plane which released aerial footage demonstrating an astonishing array of data overlaid. Read the rest

CCTV-studded, teargas-shooting, water-cannon-ed riot-control killdozer

Are you an urban police force thinking about how to control your fellow humans? Look no farther! Your pals at Bozena have an all-new RIOT system, a crowd-control killdozer for all your protest-suppressing needs! Read the rest